Product Managers, exploit the language of ‘gain’ vs ‘loss’ for behavioural change

Where Product Managers can use the language of gain

  • In external stakeholder communication to build new business. Product Managers (PMs) need to know the existing objectives, incentives and challenges that stakeholders are facing and help them overcome them. Framing the problem regarding what they stand to gain, rather than what they stand to lose, is more likely to get their business. Your product stays the same and your knowledge of their challenges and technical landscape should be as deep. However, instead of saying « if you don’t act you stand to lose 10k per week in issue mitigation ». Rather, say « integrating this technology would help to mitigate x issues saving 10k per month ».
  • Development of new product capabilities. Internal team members also needs to be convinced that developing something new is worth their time, that there is a purpose to their work. PMs should frame the benefits that the capability will bring the customer and to the team’s business, instead of highlighting the losses that would happen as a result. Saying « this will help a user save 5 hours a week doing groceries and £50k in revenue for our business », instead of « users will continue wasting 5 hours per week doing groceries and we won’t make the potential £50k if we don’t do this”

Humans are emotional

Humans are loss averse as described by D. Kahneman’s Prospect Theory. It’s because humans have emotions, which guide logical reasoning. Without emotions, it’s difficult to make decisions so there is no such thing as ‘taking emotions out’ of making decisions. What we can do is understand emotions, the effect of language on them and use this to our advantage.



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Ilona Melnychuk

Ilona Melnychuk

AI Product Manager | Combing academic theory and product experience to create useful PM tools | Ultra-marathon runner